Escape from Winter - 2012 travel blog

People who care about their appearance develop a relationship with a special someone who cuts and styles their hair; color could also be part of the equation. Perhaps it used to be more of a female thing. Plays and films have been written portraying the close ties between women and their hair dressers. But in these metrosexual days of gender equality, guys who give a hoot have a special someone who wields a set of shears on their behalf. When we were still working and spent most of the time in the same place, this was also true for us.

But now that we spend more than half the year traveling hither and yon, it’s catch as catch can when it’s time to get a hair cut. The first time I realized that getting a trim away from home was not necessarily a simple thing, was when we spent a summer in Singapore. This country, eighty miles from the equator, has a tropical climate and I couldn’t wait to get separated from the curling, drooping mass that was my hair. The stylist, a Chinese woman, spent the first ten minutes of my visit sliding my thin hair through her fingers and sighing. The Chinese have thick, luxurious hair with lots of body and she just didn’t know quite what to do with my little Caucasian wisps.

Ken is not good at telling the stylist what he wants. One time on the road we stopped at a Walmart for a cut and the stylist whipped out electric clippers and gave him a trim so close he got a sunburned scalp. As he paid the bill, he looked sadly at the floor where all that beautiful hair covered it instead of his head.

Last time we were here in the valley, we thought we would go together to one of those franchise places that deal with men and women in an efficient, economical manner. But no matter what words we used to google, the only hair places we could find where spots like Rosita’s Beauty Shop or Fernando the Barber. We drove around for almost an hour before we found a shop that could give us both a trim.

But these days the franchise places have arrived in the area and we went to a Super Cuts today to get the job done. It looked just like the places we’ve patronized in other towns, but the stylists here had a much better grasp of Spanish than English. We didn’t get our hair cut yesterday in Nuevo Progreso so we wouldn’t have this problem. As I struggled to convey what I wanted to happen, I waved my hands and looked deeply into my stylist’s eyes, but her responses left me worried. As she hacked away, it became clear that some of my comments had not registered. It took her about twice as long as it usually does and she finished the job with oodles of product. I was gelled, and sprayed, and conditioned within an inch of my life. When I touched my head, images of the helmet head of Calista Gingrich flashed through my mind. Was she trying to tame all the cowlicks she had generated as she cut? I don’t normally use these products and am wondering what my haircut will reveal once the product has been washed down the drain. Maybe I’ll have to wear an “I’m a Winter Texan” hat for the next few weeks.

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